Urgent call for Meals on Wheels volunteers

Meals on Wheels volunteers provide vital social contact for the elderly PICTURE: JULIAN GERMAIN
Meals on Wheels volunteers provide vital social contact for the elderly PICTURE: JULIAN GERMAIN

A SERVICE offering vital social contact for older people is making an urgent appeal for more volunteers.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) needs around 30 more helpers across Shoreham, Southwick and Steyning to help with Meals on Wheels.

Ruth Deans, from RVS, said they had a lot of Meals on Wheels customers spread across the area and the service was undergoing some big changes, both in the way the meals are delivered and the meals themselves.

“Volunteers will no longer deliver the meals, instead the chilled pre-prepared meals will be delivered in specially-adapted vans and go straight in the customer’s fridge,” she explained.

“The volunteers will no longer have to dash around trying to deliver loads of meals in a tight lunchtime delivery window, but will be able to choose when to visit and have time for a more sociable visit, and hopefully be able to share a cup of tea and companionship, which is what elderly customers particularly said they’d like.”

The new meals are fresh and steam cooked, to retain goodness and flavour, and Ruth said fish and chips was proving the most popular from the wide choice available.

Members of the team will be available to explain more at enrolment events in Worthing and Lancing. Meet them at Worthing Library, in Richmond Road, Worthing, tomorrow, 10.30am to 2.30pm, or at Chesham House, South Street, Lancing, on Monday, February 24, 1pm to 3pm.

Volunteers are asked to dedicate a small amount of time each week to help older and housebound people in their community, providing not only a hot meal but a source of social contact for those who have few visitors.

The volunteers also perform ‘safe and well’ checks to make sure the older people who use the service have everything they need to stay safe, healthy and independent in their own homes.

David McCullough, RVS chief executive, said: “This is a really vital service for older people and makes a massive difference to their lives.

“Our volunteers are fantastic and really enjoy what they do. They get as much out of volunteering as they put in, but we always need more helpers to meet the growing demand for the service, especially at this time of year.”

Volunteers typically give around two to three hours per week but they can choose to dedicate as much or as little time as they are able.

The Royal Voluntary Service supports more than 100,000 older people a month to help them stay independent in their own homes and has an army of 40,000 national volunteers. As well as Meals on Wheels, the charity runs Good Neighbours and Books on Wheels.

Those interested who cannot make the enrolment dates should call 0845 600 5885 and quote West Sussex or visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/westsussex for more information.